Hurricane Sandy Demolition Program Set To Commence In Many NJ Towns

Bad Faith Insurance Lawyer

After Hurricane Sandy hit the eastern seaboard, many homeowners sought to repair and rebuild their properties as soon as possible. However, many others whose homes were destroyed simply boarded up what was left and never returned.

The situation has been a nightmare for those who stayed and are still battling it out with their homeowners’ insurance companies and living amongst the devastation from which their neighbors walked away. Twenty-eight New Jersey towns have been invited to participate in a demolition program that will soon commence – and hopefully things will change for the better.

NJ Towns Have Until June 20th to Participate In Demolitions

According to the Press of Atlantic City, 28 towns have been invited to participate in state’s Hurricane Sandy Unsafe Structures Demolition Program have until June 20 to accept the invitation. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s allocation of $15 million in federal Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery funding from HUD will be used to:

  • identify and demolish unsafe structures
  • remove debris
  • perform any additional activities related to demolitions

The state Department of Community Affairs (DCA) says once the towns accept an invitation, they will provide DCA with a preliminary list of unsafe Sandy-damaged structures. However, given the limited financial resources available and the cost associated with demolitions, the program will not cover legal costs associated with property owners and/or lien holders who don’t consent to demolition.

Officials from many towns who have signed up for the program have voiced concerns that they are still unclear on how it will be decided that a home needs to be demolished. These lack of guidelines, and homeowners having to find out who needs to consent and what it will cost, has led to a great deal of anger surrounding the program. Many homeowners have had enough with the bureaucracy and with towns they say simply aren’t doing enough.

Atlantic City resident Sabina Walsh, who lives in the Chelsea Heights section on Richmond Avenue, says the city hasn’t done enough since the storm to clean up derelict and abandoned properties in her neighborhood. She says her neighborhood actually looks worse now – nearly 2 years after the storm. Walsh wants to sell her home, but because of the conditions of the abandoned properties around her, she has not been successful.

She says broken windows, homes falling down and molding, rodents and overgrown vegetation in her neighborhood is not on the city’s agenda in a neighborhood that was beautiful before Sandy. Sadly, many of her neighbors boarded up, left and never came back after the storm. Walsh summed up her frustration, “I really would like the state to step in. I’m disgusted. I feel like I live in a ghetto. I don’t want to live here anymore.”

Are You Still Waiting For Help?

Many homeowners like Walsh are still waiting for the help they’ve been promised, but which has yet to come. Aside from government projects and aid, insurance companies have routinely denied homeowners their legitimate proceeds, have unreasonably delayed payments, have offered lowball settlements and have engaged in bad faith insurance practices.

If you’ve been treated in bad faith, you can fight back. Contact an experienced New York insurance dispute lawyer to review your situation, get your claim paid once and for all and determine whether you might be entitled to additional compensation.